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Wife-beater diplomat: probe on his return

New Delhi: Having refused to waive diplomatic immunity of its London-based senior diplomat Anil Verma accused of beating his wife, government on Tuesday said the matter will be "thoroughly investigated" and action taken accordingly.

"Ministry of External Affairs has taken a serious view in the matter. The matter has been looked into actively and with all the seriousness that it deserves. The officer and members of the family have been transferred back to the headquarters. Once the officer is back, the matter will be thoroughly investigated and acted upon appropriately," MEA`s official spokesperson Vishnu Prakash told reporters here.

He was asked if Verma will be coming back with his wife and what action will be taken against him.

Verma, who is Minister (Economic) in the High Commission, is alleged to have attacked his wife after a heated argument last month, according to `Daily Mail`. Verma had also reportedly sought immunity from prosecution after being questioned by the British police over claims that he assaulted his wife in December last year.

After the incident was reported, Britain had demanded waiving immunity of the diplomat or his transfer from London and action against him under Indian laws but India chose the second option, according to sources.

Terming the incident as "unacceptable", Prakash said "that there is no question of condoning domestic violence which is totally unacceptable. Once the officer is back, the matter will be thoroughly investigated and acted upon appropriately. The laws of the land would take care of any act that needs to be taken care of consequent to the inquiry."

On the role of Deputy High Commissioner Rajesh Prasad, who according to the British newspaper had threatened Verma`s wife, Paromita, with deportation to India, the Spokesperson indicated that the High Commission only encouraged both sides to resolve their marital discords, which was the best way of doing it.

"The High Commission has the responsibility towards the welfare and wellbeing of the officer and the members of the family. I have already mentioned that domestic violence is unacceptable and there is no question of condoning.

"At the same time, the HC had encouraged both sides to sort out any marital issues between the two of them, which is best way of doing that," he said.

"Verma and members of his family have been transferred back to the headquarters. They will be returning soon. And once they return to India, the matter will be investigated and appropriate action under the law of the land will be taken," Prakash added.

Verma`s wife has accused him of beating her and went into a hiding with her five-year-old child, fearing for her safety and reportedly moved an application seeking permission to stay back in Britain on humanitarian grounds.

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